If you missed that June 18 deadline to order your Dell laptop or desktop with Windows XP, you're not totally out of luck. We're actually totally acclimated to Windows Vista by now, but if you're not ready to make the leap yet, we finally have some details on the XP downgrade plans being offered by Dell.
Even though Dell can't sell you a computer with just an OEM copy of XP anymore, they'll be more than happy to sell you a Vista PC, but install a copy of XP on it instead. Then they toss the copy of Vista you've already paid for into the box, so you can install it when you're ready to take the big plunge. This'll add between $50 and $100 to your purchase price, depending on which version of noninstalled Vista you get.
Dell says it's so you can "transition when you're ready," explaining the plan like this:
Microsoft is making the full line of Windows Vista the primary operating system for new PCs. However, customers who are buying a new PC have an opportunity from Dell to buy a Dell PC with Windows XP Professional preinstalled and receive a Windows Vista installation disc. This gives customers the option of running XP now and transitioning to Vista when they're ready.Naturally, there are only a handful of systems that qualify for this plan, and there are going to be exceptions (Netbook-style laptops, individual system builders, etc.) to the new no-XP rule, so it's still a little early to count everyone's favorite (Microsoft) OS out yet.